Positive effects of foliar nutrition on yield and storage life of kiwiberry

J. Decorte, F. Debersaques
Although kiwiberry (Actinidia arguta) is becoming an important crop worldwide, there is still very little information about its requirement for mineral nutrients. A research project was launched focusing on foliar nutrition for multiple reasons: 1) fertilization is important both for fruit size and fruit quality; 2) the efficacy of foliar nutrition is high; 3) there are fewer losses compared to soil fertilization; 4) quick adjustments can be made to the fertilization regime; and 5) there is less chance that nutrients become fixed in the soil. Foliar fertilization field trials were conducted on the cultivars ‘Geneva’, ‘Weiki’ and ‘Issai’ in four mature kiwiberry orchards in Belgium and the Netherlands over a 2-year period. Based on soil analyses, the ideal soil fertilization was determined for each site. In a randomized block design three different treatments were compared: 100% soil fertilization as a control; 50% soil fertilization combined with a complete foliar nutrition program; and a complete foliar nutrition program with main, meso and chelated trace elements, without soil fertilization. In this paper, the results of the second year, 2015, are reported. Even in the rich soils of Belgium and the Netherlands very good results were achieved with foliar fertilization. Overall for the three cultivars, the best yields were obtained when soil and foliar fertilization were combined, with an average productivity gain of 16% compared to the control. Berries from plants that received only foliar nutrition had the greatest firmness after storage for 4 weeks at 1°C. The increased firmness differed strongly by cultivar: ‘Issai’ +5.3 kg cm-2, ‘Geneva’ +1.9 kg cm-2 and ‘Weiki’ +0.5 kg cm-2. From these data, we conclude that foliar fertilization is a valuable tool to optimize yield and storage life of kiwiberry.
Decorte, J. and Debersaques, F. (2018). Positive effects of foliar nutrition on yield and storage life of kiwiberry. Acta Hortic. 1218, 579-586
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2018.1218.79
Actinidia arguta, hardy kiwifruit, foliar fertilization, shelf-life, storability

Acta Horticulturae